Better Judgement & Munro’s Musings!

Pictured, clockwise: Serbian PM Ana Brnabić, Belgian Deputy PM Petra De Sutter, California Supreme Court nominee Martin J. Jenkins, and Chris of OutCasting Overtime

No one is reflecting more on the loss of “notorious” U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg than the young queers and allies of OutCasting Overtime who will carry her torch into the future.

Multi-layered California Supreme Court nominee Martin J. Jenkins shares judicious words about the wisdom of coming out — sooner, or even later.

Stan Munro looks back at his eight years emceeing Australia’s “Les Girls” and the group’s legacy on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their Melbourne debut (part 3 of 3).

India’s marriage inequality now faces a triple threat, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Ministers now include Europe’s top transgender pol, Serbia re-elects a controversial lesbian P.M., a gender-fluid U.K. worker collects big bias damages, and more international LGBTQ news!

Complete Program Summary and NewsWrap Transcript for the week of October 12, 2020

Better Judgement and Munro’s Musings!

Program #1,698 distributed 10/12/20

Hosted this week by Lucia Chappelle and produced with Greg Gordon

NewsWrap (full transcript below): A second and third lawsuit are filed in India demanding marriage equality … the Inter-American Court of Human Rights joins queer activists pushing Panama to follow the Court’s order to all nations in the region who haven’t already done so to open civil marriage to same-gender couples … U.S. Supreme Court Justices Alito and Thomas create queer anxiety by urging a review of the high court’s June 2015 Obergefell marriage equality ruling … LGBTQ people celebrate the appointment of Belgium’s new Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter, who becomes Europe’s highest-ranking transgender politician … equality activists are less thrilled with the re-election of Serbia’s out and partnered lesbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, who’s been excoriated for failing to advance LGBTQ rights during her tenure … and the U.K.’s Jaguar Land Rover finds out that anti-queer workplace discrimination and harassment can have costly consequences (written by GREG GORDON, edited by LUCIA CHAPPELLE, reported this week by MICHAEL LEBEAU and LUCIA CHAPPELLE, produced by BRIAN DESHAZOR).

Feature: “This Week In Trump” once again stars Donald J. Trump, this time featuring music by WILLIE NELSON.

Feature: Equality advocates everywhere are reflecting on the loss of the world’s most “notorious” judge, not least of all the young queers and allies who will carry her torch into the future. This reflection by OutCasting Overtime’s CHRIS was produced by MARC SOPHOS, and with intro music by 21 PILOTS).

Feature: For the last couple of weeks we’ve been commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Melbourne debut of Australia’s pioneering drag show Les Girls with the show’s emcee Stan Munro. In the conclusion of his three-part interview with This Way Out SYDNEY correspondent WILLIAM BROUGHAM, Stan talks about his entrance and exit from Les Girls, and why he and William are writing his biography (begins with brief lifts from Parts 1 and 2).

Feature: California Governor Gavin Newsom nominated the first openly gay man to serve on the state Supreme Court on October 5th.  Martin J. Jenkins would also be only the third Black man on the Court, and he brings with him a multi-layered personal history — a former football player who went into law … and didn’t come out of the closet until he was 66 years old. Jenkins shared some thoughts for young people at the announcement of his nomination (with intro music by SACHZNA LAPARAN).

NewsWrap

A summary of some of the news in or affecting global LGBTQ communities
for the week ending October 10, 2020
Written by Greg Gordon, edited by Lucia Chappelle,
reported this week by Michael LeBeau and Lucia Chappelle,
produced by Brian DeShazor

Three separate lawsuits are demanding marriage equality in India.  The latest of the challenges were lodged this week.

One petition was filed on behalf of a gay couple who were legally wed in Washington, D.C. in 2017.  Their effort to register the U.S. marriage under the Foreign Marriage Act was rebuffed by officials at India’s consulate in New York strictly because they are gay. Registration would have been automatic if they were a heterosexual couple, and the lawsuit charges discrimination based on sexual orientation.

A second suit was filed this week by a lesbian couple demanding the right to legally marry in India.  They’re the co-founders of a leading clinic in north India specializing in mental health and learning disabilities for children and young adults, and have been a couple for eight years.  Their petition notes that simple actions that married heterosexual couples take for granted are denied to them – things like opening a joint bank account and purchasing family health insurance coverage.

A Public Interest Litigation case challenging India’s heterosexual-only marriage statutes is already underway. Such class action-like cases are brought on behalf of underrepresented groups to change public policy. Government lawyers told the Delhi High Court in mid-September that the Supreme Court’s recent decriminalization of same-gender sex did not suggest the enactment of anti-discrimination protections or the right to marry.

The Court asked the plaintiff petitioners for a specific list of people aggrieved by being denied registration of their same-gender marriages. The matter was adjourned until October 21st.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights joined queer advocacy groups this week to push Panama to enact marriage equality.  The judicial arm of the Organization of American States had ordered all non-marriage equality countries in the region to open civil marriage to same-gender couples in January 2018.

Panama is obligated by its membership in the 20-nation Organization of American States to comply, but a lawsuit to resolve the issue has been stalled for months in the country’s Supreme Court of Justice.

What specific actions could be taken against Panama if it continues to disregard the Court’s marriage equality order? It’s unclear if either the Inter-American Commission or the Court has any enforcement powers.

Is marriage equality safe in the United States? Some queer advocacy groups are expressing serious concerns this week, after two Supreme Court justices called for a review of the June 2015 Obergefell decision.

The call from Associate Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas was prompted by the high court’s refusal to review the case of infamous and now former Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis. Civil rights lawsuits can now continue against the professed devout Christian who denied queer couples marriage licenses after the high court mandated it.

Both justices voted with the high court majority not to hear the Davis case, but they issued a rare statement accompanying the ruling. In it they lamented that, “Davis may have been one of the first victims of this Court’s cavalier treatment of religion in its Obergefell decision. … By choosing to privilege a novel constitutional right over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendment, and by doing so undemocratically, the Court has created a problem that only it can fix.”

Alito and Thomas joined Chief Justice John Roberts and the late Justice Antonin Scalia in the 5-to-4 minority against the marriage equality ruling.  There are fears that far-right Christian conservative high court nominee Amy Coney Barrett would make it an anti-equality majority. Barrett once clerked for Scalia, and has claimed to be in lockstep with his “literalist” interpretation of the Constitution. President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Senate are trying to rush her confirmation before the presidential election in early November.

James Esseks of the A.C.L.U.’s LGBT & HIV Project called the Alito/Thomas statement “appalling.” He said,  “[T]here is no license to discriminate or turn people away because they do not meet religious criteria. Our government could not function if everyone doing the government’s business got to pick their own rules.”

Human Rights Campaign President Alfonso David warned that, “[The addition of Amy Coney] Barrett will only embolden these anti-equality extremist views on the Court. … Our love is valid, our love is equal, and our rights must be.”

The Alito/Thomas comments were also “extremely concerning” to the Alliance for Justice. That group accused the Court’s conservatives of “clearly chomping at the bit to chip away at [marriage equality].”

A statement issued by the queer advocacy group Lambda Legal charged that “Republicans and the Supreme Court are gleefully coming for marriage equality, and they think that Trump’s [Supreme Court] nominee Amy Coney Barrett gives them the opportunity to do it.”

However, many equality activists were recently surprised by Trump-appointed Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch. He sided with and wrote the high court majority opinion in the ruling that federal employment non-discrimination laws protect LGBTQ people.  Other legal experts have expressed doubt that there would be enough supportive votes by the required number of Justices for the Court to revisit Obergefell, even with the addition of Amy Coney Barrett.

In other news, Petra De Sutter was sworn in as one of Belgium’s seven Deputy Prime Ministers on October 4th, making her the highest-ranking transgender politician on the continent.  A practicing gynecologist and former university professor of reproductive medicine, De Sutter is a former Green Party Member of the European Parliament, and served in Belgium’s upper house of parliament from 2014 to 2019.

De Sutter’s appointment to the fragile ruling coalition solidifies Belgium’s government after more than a year of uncertainty following inconclusive election results.  New liberal Prime Minister Alexander De Croo now leads a government with members from seven different political parties, including other liberals, socialists, the Greens, and the Christian Democrats.

De Sutter tweeted that she is “Incredibly grateful for the confidence I have received from my party … to re-launch our country and work on a new future for all Belgians! … I am proud that in Belgium and in most of Europe your gender identity does not define you as a person and is a non-issue. Hashtag fight transphobia.”

Meanwhile, out lesbian Ana Brnabic has won a second term as Prime Minister of Serbia.  She became the Balkan nation’s first female P.M. in 2017, and is the second-ever woman on the planet to lead a government.

LGBTQ rights activists are not exactly celebrating, however.  Homophobia is common in Serbia, and LGBTQ people aren’t protected by law from discrimination and are denied the right to marry.  After she became Prime Minister Brnabic made it clear at the 2017 Pride March that passing equality legislation took a back seat to what she considered to be more pressing concerns, such as inflation, pensions, and improving the standard of living.

She was not welcome at the 2018 celebration because of her failure to advance queer rights.

Fuel was added to the fire when it emerged that Brnabic’s lesbian partner used artificial insemination to conceive the couple’s baby last year. That’s an option not available to other LGBTQ people in the country.

In fact, at the same time Brnabic was celebrating the blessed event, her government was considering specifically banning access to artificial insemination or other fertility services to anyone who has had “a history of homosexual relations” during the past five years.

Finally, anti-queer discrimination in the workplace can have serious consequences — something Britain’s Jaguar Land Rover discovered this week when it had to pay a gender-fluid employee 180,000 pounds in damages, about 232 thousand U.S. dollars.

An Employment Tribunal found in September that plaintiff Rose Taylor had been mercilessly harassed in the workplace, and reconvened this week to determine monetary compensation.  It had already determined that non-binary and gender-fluid people are protected from workplace bias by provisions of the U.K.’s Equality Act of 2010 that cover sexual orientation and “gender reassignment.”

Taylor was virtually hounded out of her job as an engineer by constant harassment from fellow employees when she started to wear feminine attire.  She overheard workers referring to her as “not normal” and “it.”  One asked her directly, “Are you going to have your bits chopped off?” Another derisively asked her if she was dressed “for Hallowe’en.”

After fighting Taylor’s case at the tribunal, Jaguar Land Rover issued a statement apologizing to their former employee. The company promised to use the experience to improve its “diversity and inclusion strategy.”

Taylor’s barrister Robin White said her client was pleased by the outcome of the case, and said, “Hopefully that will mean others may not suffer difficulties in the workplace as she did.”

© 2020 Overnight Productions (Inc.)

© 2020 Overnight Productions (Inc.)
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